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Nikon Z System in comparison
Reading time: 10 minutes - April 17, 2024 - by Markus Igel

Nikon Z cameras in comparison | Which Nikon Z is the right one?

If you're a fan of the Nikon system camera universe or are considering buying a Nikon Z camera, you've come to the right place. We present all Nikon Z cameras in this article: From full-frame to APS-C sensor, from professional cameras to entry-level cameras. The particularly good and long-term support of the camera firmware across the range deserves special mention. This is where Nikon excels, as they regularly improve their firmware for older devices and provide more than just simple service updates. In this way, Nikon also contributes to sustainability in terms of software updates and keeps the cameras competitive in the long term.

    Overview of Nikon Z devices

    We will go into more detail on all the cameras listed below in the article and explain all the important features of the cameras.

    Full-frame cameras:

    • Nikon Z5
    • Nikon Z6
    • Nikon Z7
    • Nikon Z6 II
    • Nikon Z7 II
    • Nikon Z f
    • Nikon Z8
    • Nikon Z9

    APS-C cameras:

    • Nikon Z30
    • Nikon Z50
    • Nikon Z fc

    The Nikon Z full-frame cameras

    With the introduction of the Nikon Z cameras we start in full format, from the smallest to the largest model.

    All Nikon Z full frame cameras

    The Nikon Z5 in summary

    The Nikon is an entry-level full-frame camera, which - in addition to two SD card slots - also features the brand's usual good ergonomics. Like the Nikon Z6, it offers 24 megapixels and has many functions that can also be found in more expensive models. An example of this would be the IBIS. Overall, the camera is primarily aimed at amateur photographers.

    The Nikon Z6 in summary

    The Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 have now been replaced by a second generation and introduced before the Nikon Z5. It is aimed at ambitious amateur photographers.

    Differences between the Z6 and the Z5

    The Nikon Z6 is essentially no different from the Z5: the difference lies in the memory system. While the Nikon Z6 only has one memory card slot that can be used with XQD cards and CF-Express type B, the Z5 has two UHS-I SD card slots. If you need the speed for sports and the like, you should therefore opt for the Z6.

    Nikon Z7 in summary

    The Z7 is the big brother of the Z6. Both use the same body; only the sensor is different on the Z7 with 45.7 megapixels. The Z7 has 493 autofocus sensors and is aimed primarily at professional photographers who need a lot of flexibility even after the shutter has been released. The viewfinder and display are very sharp and offer good brightness with a pleasant contrast and color reproduction.


    Nikon Z6 II in the summary

    The Nikon Z6 II has many of the technical features of its predecessor, the Z6 MK1. However, it also differs from its predecessor in key respects: this applies, for example, to the number of autofocus processors, of which the Z6 II has two, which significantly improves the autofocus performance and makes it an ideal tool for wedding and event photographers in the professional and semi-professional segment. With its 24.5 megapixels, it is ideal for cropping into the image at one point or another and changing the section.

    The built-in sensor stabilization (IBIS) helps the camera to create a blur-free image even in more adverse lighting situations and thus offers you a high degree of flexibility. The previously heavily criticized missing second memory card slot has been added with the successor and now offers space for an XQD/CF-Express type B card and an SDXC memory card. This ensures a high level of data security, especially for professional jobs, with a backup.

    Flexibility is supported by the frames per second. Here, the Nikon Z6 II offers up to 14 fps. The camera also delivers high video quality up to 4K for filming in between. To be precise: 4K30p at full sensor readout, i.e. full format, at 4K60p the camera cropped to APS-C size.

    Nikon Z7 II in summary

    The big brother of the Nikon Z6 II is, like its predecessor, the Z7, in the same megapixel segment. It also has two autofocus processors and has also received the expansion of the memory card slots.

    It has around 4 frames per second less, which means that it just achieves a continuous shooting performance of 10 fps.

    It is primarily aimed at professional photographers who need a lot of megapixels and want to use the images for more than just e-commerce

    Nikon Z f in summary

    The Nikon Z f is the big vintage brother of the Nikon Z fc and combines some aspects of other cameras: The megapixels with the sensor of the Nikon Z6 II and the autofocus system of the Nikon Z8 / Z9. The autofocus is much faster and even more reliable than that of the Z6II. With regard to the memory card slots, an SD card slot and a MicroSD card slot are installed here, which is somewhat due to the design / form factor of the camera.

    The Zf offers the Pixel Shift function, with which high-resolution images with up to 96 megapixels can be taken. The camera comes with a rotating and tilting monitor, whereas the Nikon Z6 and Z7 only have a tilting display.

    The vintage look also includes various selector wheels for ISO and exposure time, which provide the photographer with optical and haptic feedback, just like the cameras from Fujifilm.

    It is a working tool that sets itself apart from the other Nikon models, and not just visually. However, it should be noted that the Z f has a very small grip, which may not be for everyone.

    Our test report

    Nikon Z8 in summary

    The Nikon Z8 was introduced after the Nikon Z9. It is more compact, as it does without the handgrip of the Z9 and the larger battery. The Z8 uses the same batteries as the Nikon Z6II + Z7II.

    Technically, the camera is identical in construction and differs almost only in software-side functions, which have also found their way into the other models over time. The viewfinder can be set to 18 brightness levels here, whereas the Z9 can only be set to 16 levels. On the body, the camera differs from the Z9 in the number of function buttons. The Z8 does without 3 buttons, but also has 2 USB-C ports, while the Z9 only has one.

    The Z8 offers 45.7 MP. With a performance of up to 20 frames per second at full resolution and a video resolution of 8K, this camera offers everything the heart of photographers and videographers desires, making it a perfect hybrid workhorse. It is aimed at professional photographers, but also professional videographers who want to achieve maximum quality.

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    Nikon Z9 in summary

    The flagship of the Nikon Z full-frame system camera series is the Nikon Z9, which is the equivalent of the Nikon D6. Nikon's flagship camera uses an electronic shutter that is capable of shooting 20 images per second at 45.7 megapixels. This camera is aimed at all Nikon photographers who rely on fast data exchange between different service providers. Photojournalists in particular will benefit from Nikon's professional functions, such as the LAN connection with direct FTP upload.

    The price you pay for a Z9 is not worth it for an amateur photographer; rather, this camera is fully aimed at the professional photographer who works with the handle and spends a lot of time with his handheld device. The Z9 also has a new display swivel mechanism that allows the display to be rotated vertically 90? with Nikon's usual good ergonomics. Both the Z9 and Z8 can also be used as a kind of high-resolution camera trap, where the built-in AI ensures that the desired subject is captured. Completely automatically without manual intervention by the photographer.

    APS-C cameras from the Z-System

    So far, we have introduced you to all of Nikon's full-frame cameras from the Z-System. Now all APS-C cameras for the Nikon Z-system follow.

    Nikon Z30 in summary

    The smallest and most compact model of the Nikon APS-C cameras is the Nikon Z30, which is aimed at photographers who are used to taking pictures with their smartphone. As the Z30 does not have a viewfinder, you work exclusively via the display. The camera is aimed at beginners and content creators who want to vlog and take snapshots with the camera. It doesn't have many buttons, but it does have two dials that we wouldn't want to miss. Because this was one of the biggest criticisms of the old Nikon models, such as the D3X00 generations. The APS-C Z system cameras start with the old Nikon D5X00 generations in terms of features. If you use Lens apart from the kit lens, you get a very good image quality with which you can document your vacation wonderfully. The built-in swivel and rotating display also allows you to take pictures from unusual perspectives.

    The Z30 does not offer a sensor stabilizer; however, neither do any of the previous Nikon Z APS-Cs (Z50, Z fc). With 20.9 megapixels, the camera has enough pixels to ensure that the images are great for printing. And even if you produce vlogs of your vacation, the internal microphone offers acceptable recording quality. At 11 fps, you can also take pictures of one or two animals. We think that this camera is a pretty good entry-level model.

    Our test report

    Nikon Z50 in a nutshell

    The Nikon Z50 is very similar to the Nikon Z30 in many respects, but has a viewfinder. In terms of video functions and video features, however, it is somewhat weaker; the Nikon Z30 is slightly more convincing in this respect. However, photographers who want to maintain a good to very good view of the subject even in adverse lighting situations will fare better with the Z50 or the Z fc. It also feels good in the hand and with the two dials, most settings can be changed quickly in the camera.

    The Z50 does not have a tilting display, only a folding display, which distinguishes it from the Z fc, among others. The camera is positioned for Nikon photographers in the entry-level segment or as an "always with you" camera.

    Nikon Z fc in summary

    The Z fc is basically the Nikon Z 50 in a different guise. It differs in the eyecup, which is round here. It also has a USB-C connection, while the Z50 relies on a micro USB connection. The overall look of the Nikon Z fc is based on the analogue SLR camera FM2, which also has the distinctive dials that allow the photographer to set the exposure times and the ISO value, as well as the program mode and exposure compensation.

    It is aimed at nostalgics, vintage optics enthusiasts and beginners in photography

    The best Nikon Z Lens

    If you want to exploit the full potential of the Nikon Z cameras, you should also use the native lenses of the Z system. We have selected some of the best lenses for you below.

    200,- Sofortrabatt Nikon Einsteigerkurs gratis 5 Jahre Garantie sichern 0% Finanzierungs-Aktion

    Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8... Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8... Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2.0 Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24 mm f/2.8... Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5... Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S Nikon Z

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    Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S Nikon Z


    Using the old F system on the new Nikon Z system

    Nikon offers the option of adapting lenses from the F mount system to the new Z mount. This means that old lenses from the system can be taken along and used on the new system. This reduces the costs for the changeover and brings the advantages of the mirrorless system, such as the autofocus functionalities, into your own workflow.


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